This Thai Pineapple Fried Rice is probably one of the most delicious things I have cooked in a long time. I first encountered the concept of pineapple fried rice in Thailand a couple of years ago and to be honest wasn’t very enthused by it. I am, after all, a hater of the Hawaiian pizza, so am deeply suspicious of the inclusion of pineapple in a savoury dish. And this couldn’t have been more pineapple focused. It was even served in a hollowed out pineapple shell!
Luckily the Perky Kebab wasn’t so quick to judge and ordered it allowing me to see what this apparently hideous concept looked and tasted like. Let’s just say it made me reconsider my position on Hawaiian pizza in an instant. The combination of the salty, flavours from the prawns, fish and soy sauces, together with meaty chunks of chicken, sweetness from the pineapple chunks and raisins, heat from the chilli, all balanced beautifully by fried rice flavoured with a little turmeric was just too much.
It’s not something I’ve seen very frequently in Thailand or outside of the country for that matter, so it’s a good thing this is such an easy dish to recreate at home. There are 2 caveats to this though…
The first is that first you need to be super organised and get everything chopped and laid out ready to go before you even consider heating up your pan. Everything happens pretty quickly with this dish so, like a stir fry, you need to have everything to hand ready to throw into the pan.
The second caveat is that you need to use cold, ideally day-old, cooked rice. I used to make fried rice using just-cooked, still-warm rice and couldn’t work out why it turned into a soggy mess rather than the separate almost fluffy fried rice you get in restaurants. Apparently allowing the rice to sit in the fridge overnight means it dries out enough to avoid the soggy mess issue. Looking on the bright side though, this is a great way to use up left over rice, or else if you’re not feeling particularly organised you could just use the frozen cooked rice you can buy from supermarkets – I haven’t tried but I imagine it would work just as well.
You obviously don’t need to serve your finished dish in a pineapple shell, but I couldn’t resist the slightly 1980s kitsch touch this lent the dish! Please do try this if you get the chance – it really is delicious!
Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
150g long grain or basmati rice, cooked and ideally refrigerated overnight
1 medium chicken breast cut into small dice (about 150g)
8 shelled king prawns
1/2 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed/minced
A handful of frozen peas
100g fresh or tinned pineapple, chopped into small dice
2 tablespoons currants/raisins/sultanas
2 tablespoons roasted cashew nuts
1 small red chilli finely chopped or a good sprinkle of dried chilli flakes
20g chopped coriander
A hollowed out pineapple shell for serving (optional)
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
- Mix together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a wok or wide-bottomed pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until softened and then add the crushed garlic clove, chilli and chicken. Saute for about 3 minutes until the chicken is almost cooked then add the prawns and cook for a further minute.
- Turn the heat to high and add the rice, peas, raisins (or equivalent), and pineapple together with the sauce to the pan. Stirring continuously, cook for 3-4 minutes until everything is piping hot and the prawns are pink.
- Have a taste and check for seasoning – add a few splashes of extra fish sauce or soy sauce if you feel it needs more.
- Stir through the coriander and cashew nuts and serve immediately.